Court Cases on Poor Children’s Access to Normalcy

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access | Ahead of Print | Last Modified: 20 July 2022

Court Cases on Poor Children’s Access to Normalcy


  • Elisabet Näsman Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Stina Fernqvist Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Sweden


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Abstract:  Poverty in childhood is associated with an increased risk of being marginalised and socially excluded, which is also the case in the Swedish welfare state. Poor parents often strive for their children to fit in among same‐aged children, which is difficult for the poorest to accomplish. As the last resort for the poor, the welfare state offers the opportunity to apply for financial aid, but applications may be rejected. Parents can then appeal the rejections to an administrative court. In these decisions, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child could be applied or referred to. The convention has been incorporated into Swedish law since 2020. This article is grounded in childhood sociology and aims to show how poor children, their needs, and rights are processed in the legal system, which sets the framework for the children’s access to material conditions needed for inclusion in a welfare state such as Sweden. The presentation is based on a qualitative content analysis of administrative court records concerning financial aid appeals. The results show that the appeal process confirms the adult orientation of financial aid and that a child rights perspective is, with few exceptions, missing in these records. When children are mentioned, a care perspective dominates and their right to participation is neglected.

Keywords:  child perspective; child poverty; children’s rights; court records; financial aid

Published:   Ahead of Print

Issue:   New Approaches to the Study of Social Inclusion of Poor Children and Youth (Forthcoming)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v10i4.5325


© Elisabet Näsman, Stina Fernqvist. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.